Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer and Smoke and Suck*

(NOTE: Totals have been revised, thanks to an alert reader who pointed out that there were 212 total days in the first seven months of the year. Duh.)

Summer has finally arrived in full force in Bend, with sunny skies and high temperatures. Every day of July except one (July 2) was sunny.

The downside of the arrival of warm summer weather, though, is that it produces thunderstorms. Thunderstorms produce lightning, which starts forest fires, which fill the air in and around Bend with smoke for much of July and August.

Right now the Rooster Rock fire near Sisters has been almost contained (that means the firefighters have cleared a line around it to keep it from expanding further) but not before it burned more than 6,000 acres of woodland and filled the Central Oregon air with a pungent reddish-brown haze.

A couple of days ago the visibility was so bad that if you didn't know better you'd swear you were in Los Angeles. It was truly suckitudinous.

Thanks to July's impressive performance, the total number of sunny days so far this year has finally surpassed the total number of sucky days. But don't worry -- in two months, give or take, the Sucky Season will return.

July Totals

Days of Sun: 30
Days of Suck: 1

YTD Totals

Days of Sun: 111
Days of Suck: 101

*Apologies to Tennessee Williams

70 comments:

Jack Elliott said...

Ain't just Bend. I just got back from Polson, MT., and I'm here to tell you that afternoon and evening thunderstorms occurred nearly every day; that there was a massive lightning and rain storm one night which dumped so much rain that helicopters were employed to beat the water out of the cherry trees in the morning (to save the crop); that a wildfire somewhere upwind caused smoky Los Angeles-quality skies for two days; and that on the drive back the entire southern portion of Washington and northern central Oregon were blanketed under hazy white-out skies. Point the finger at Bend if you like, but the weather here is just part and parcel of living in the northwestern interior.

blackdog said...

All true, Jack. Summer thunderstorms and forest and range fires are indeed endemic throughout the intermountain West. I "point the finger at Bend" only because I live here and this blog is about Bend and its sucky attributes. I have never claimed those attributes are unique to Bend.

Jack Elliott said...

"I have never claimed those attributes are unique to Bend."

New readers would be forgiven if they thought otherwise. Recommend a good disclaimer. Check with Legal.

blackdog said...

Okay, how about this:

"The attributes of suckitudinosity herein attributed to Bend and/or its environs and/or its government and/or its residents are not necessarily exclusive to, unique to, or limited to Bend and/or its environs, its residents, its government and/or their heirs and assigns, any and all representations to the contrary notwithstanding."

That do it for ya?

Jack Elliott said...

Add "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly. We make no other warranties, expressed or implied. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. No postage necessary if mailed in the United States. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. See other side for additional listings." and you'll have it.

Anonymous said...

Glad we got all that sticky Disclaimer stuff out of the way? Here in the Salem area, another douche-weekend. Though most won't complain, they're so beat down any weekend not 'completely' doused in rain has somehow become 'ideal'?

Spoke w/ a Salem couple waiting for the shuttle to Homer Davenport Daze in Silverton and by 12:30 the deluge had subsided. The wife was a native but the husband admitted he'd only lived here for 21 years. In his estimation the weather had changed markedly.

I asked them why they were going to the Festival and they said they actually look forward to all the fest's, particularly that they felt "shut in" much of the year! I think that says a LOT. And it also goes a long way toward explaining why we have so damned many ( nearly identical ) Fest fest's? I... don't think people in Palm Springs are "taking to the streets" ( just because it's a weekend 'likely' to not have any rain? )

blackdog said...

Same thing here in Bend -- it's a fest a minute as everybody tries to take advantage of the annual narrow window of opportunity when the weather doesn't suck.

Jack Elliott said...

Places where the weather doesn't suck, at least to many, like SoCal have no festivals. I've lived in Calabasas, Santa Barbara, Goleta, San Diego, Encinitas, Vista, and San Marcos. No festivals worth mentioning there. Here, there's something to celebrate; there, it's the same-old same-old day in and day out. I'll take a pack of festivals over none at all. Your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

blackdog,

Amen, in fact when I first began reaching out to others on the Fest topic it was actually an article in Bend's own The Source Weekly where I found I wasn't the ( sole ) person actually questioning this?

As usual, you're spot on. That Annual Narrow Window becomes so crowded it's unbelievable! What's hard to explain to your local council is that, you don't have anything against Fest's or 'fun' per se.., it's just that I'd like for there to be (1) weekend a month within that narrow window that isn't "Infested!" Is it SO unreasonable to ask for (1) weekend where there -isn't- a sprawling, traffic nightmare Fest?

Evidently so! And if it's not the city, certainly between the trade shows, car rallies, bar-b-q's etc. the reasonable expectation to a -private- and quiet weekend simply isn't a right any more in OR. Gauged logically, it's actually the WINTER months where we should crowd the calendar and leave what little there 'is' of Summer the hell alone!?

blackdog said...

"Gauged logically, it's actually the WINTER months where we should crowd the calendar"

I think you have a point there. The gray, dreary months of winter are when people really need something to cheer them up.

I liked your use of "infested" BTW. Clever. "An Infestation of Fests" truly describes Bend in the summer.

Anonymous said...

Jack Elliot,

It needn't.., needn't be "over NONE at all". At least here in the Wil. Valley, being even 'somewhat' critical over the Fest That Never Ends ( at least initially ) was the rough equiv. of blackballing yourself. Almost as popular as clubbing baby seals for a pastime?

No one need bludgeon ME over it! What it's meant for those of us in Silverton is that given we have the Oregon Garden, which has been a financial -disaster- by ANY measure, everyone felt this urgent need to make sure every weekend there was a 'chance' it wouldn't rain is filled to the brim w/ fun activities and events!

After all, they've read Barron's & Fortune etc. and this is precisely what boomers clamor for when they talk about qual. of life when choosing a ret. community! So we're 'all' supposed to put on our Funny Farm ( Chevy Chase & Madeline Smith, lovely girl btw ) happiest faces and make all the newcomers feel welcome w/ our almost giddy festive nature!

I grew up lower mid. class in Chicago and my father thought listening to the ball game on the radio and grilling dogs in our postage stamp-sized lot was "heaven". Here's MY question!? Why is it we have boundless energy for Fest Fest but can't seem to muster any enthusiasm for uh... Memorial Day parades? Again, if you simply 'must' have a Fest, do it at the Grange Hall, in FEB!

Jack Elliott said...

Anonymous,

I understand the viewpoint of those who feel that there are just too many festivals around here during summer. A fest every weekend is probably no more ideal than zero fests. I think what's being discussed is where, and whether, there is a sweet spot between always and never.

Parades? Meh.

Now in a town where there are no festivals, a Memorial Day parade's a big deal. Seeing the same old floats and marching bands year after year is, to this blogger, about as interesting as petting a dog.

Perhaps someday I'll tire of Central Oregon's exuberant festivalia and join the likes of others who grouse about the inconvenience.

Since we're complaining about a surfeit of weekend activities, how about the endless number of musical acts here in town? I mean, the stupid posters clog up the front windows of all the shops! Who needs so much musical variety! All a town our size needs is one or two acts appearing weekly at the local motel lounge. Someone like the Singin' Sons of Beaches. Put karaoke in the rest of the bars, some jukeboxes with cowboy music and watch the place dry up real fast.

blackdog said...

For those who are intrigued by the Singing Sons of Beaches, here's where you can buy their latest CD: http://singingsobs.com

("The best 80 minutes of drivin' music in Montana!")

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Pick up any local fishwrapper and chances are the majority of the Fest's are "1st Annual" ( or is it the '2nd'? ) The majority of which have absolutely no grounding in that town's history and were thunk up by some revenue hungry dude on the city council.

As I've said, as popular as clubbing baby seals, but you know what? We grouses are gaining momentum. Like any creeping effect, one doesn't wake up in "Brigadoon" over night? It takes years to clutter our dance card.

Great if you're a visitor ( sucks if you're a local ) I don't mind the inconvenience for say Molalla's Buckeroo or Mt. Angel's Octoberfest, because those towns have kept their sanity. Once a year, always memorable.

Not to start Monday off on the wrong foot but, there's a *reason* for Mem. Day! We're not supposed to turn out necessarily b/c it's a rip roaring time ( complete w/ "beer garden" and rides for the kids!" ) but BECAUSE it is Mem. Day. Sadly, what with all the 'other' fest's it's just gotten lost in the shuffle. What is it we're supposed to 'remember' again?

All that aside, if we enjoyed the weather of say a Goleta ( lovely place ) or San Marcos, ppl would think you've lost your mind to turn the town into Brigadoon on a weekly basis just b/c it wasn't raining? IMHO.

Jack Elliott said...

I like Bend's weather better than Goleta's or San Marcos's.

Jeez -- this thread is like two old men sitting on a porch griping about whether there are too many puppies in the town.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

No offense but... 'you' sound like a guy that moved up here, hasn't been around all that long and are trying to convince 'yourself' you didn't make a truly awful mistake? Don't take this the wrong way, but having lived up here for 4 or 5 years is in no way in a league w/ 20, 30 or more. Hell, I could put up with CHER for 5 years!

All told ( crime, traffic, smog, taxes etc. ) you can make the case that you 'prefer' Bend, but to say that our weather 'here' is in any way superior to SoCal in general is just perfectly ridiculous ( and there's millions... of objective people to back me up on that! ) :)

I've already conceded there's a time and place for festivals ( just not 'every' weekend, otay? )

blackdog said...

Let's keep it mellow, gentlemen.

Jack Elliott said...

Oh. Okay, sorry. I don't get to have an opinion.

As you were.

Anonymous said...

blackdog,

You're right, my comment about being married to Cher was.., just over the top! My apologies.

But in all seriousness, there's really only a handful of topics I'm truly passionate about, and OR's continually deteriorating weather and the endless fest-a-thon are (2) of them.

I suppose it's all a matter of 'where' you are in your relationship with a particular place? I recall when I was first stationed overseas.., man, I thought it was the greatest! 24/7 Rock & Roll, plenty of cold beer and tons of chicks, what's not to like!

Then in Year 2 ( you really begin to dread the place ) Everyone just wants a chunk of your paycheck and the command has had it w/ your partying ways. Real drag.

Year 3.., it just 'is'. You're now Officially Defeated. You 'know' everyone is out to rip you off/end your career and, you don't CARE any more! You just want to finish your time, salvage your career and move on ( with what's 'left' of you! )

And I just don't want to go there again! So many ppl don't see it here? They start to put on weight, begin to talk about TV and the internet as if it 'were' a real life and surrender to the fact our weather sucks. I CAN'T go there again.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, even though we've been having some decent days here in the Salem area, I'm wondering as to where we stand in respect to our avg. Low's?

Last Summer ( 'glorious' as it was? ) I recall walking to the office every morning without so much as a thought of bringing a jacket. This Summer? Not so much. I gauge when I walk the dog at 5:00am as to whether or not that will be worth carrying it back at lunch?

I can honestly say there have only been a handful of days when 'not' bringing one was a no-brainer. How have things measured up for Cent. OR? In spite of some fairly great 'days' here, the periphery is def. in question. Unless you get UP early ( or stay out late ) you may not have noticed?

A dud of a Summer by any measure.

blackdog said...

"How have things measured up for Cent. OR?"

I haven't seen any data but it seems about average, maybe a wee bit on the cool side.

Jack Elliott said...

Mrs Elliott says that she hasn't felt she's had a summer, been too cool by her standards, could use some hotter days (this despite the fact that she wilts in heat). Me, I've been liking it. Not too hot, not too cool. Just breezy enough to keep the air moving. I've not felt uncomfortable. But I know it's fashionable to grumble about the weather, so have at it, lads.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note that while in K' Falls all of last week, that while it was oppressive HOT during the day ( it quickly faded just a few hours after -peak- Temp! )

Seriously, if you went running at 5:00pm, you were dead meat. 6:30..? ( bring your jacket! ) You could literally feel the Temp. slipping by the minute. By 7-7:30 it was becoming windy and quite chilly. More interesting was that it wasn't (1) particular evening, this was a daily pattern.

I realize this is KF, but I don't recall the eve Temps plummeting like that last Summer? No matter 'where' you are in OR this Summer ( it just didn't seem to have any "holding power" at all? ) While many ppl actually prefer... to have cooler eve's during the summer months, is it so unreasonable to 'wish' for a handful of nights you could actually be at the Drive-In movie or whatever in short sleeves? Evidently so.

Jack Elliott said...

"...is it so unreasonable to 'wish' for a handful of nights you could actually be at the Drive-In movie or whatever in short sleeves? Evidently so."

Bring a sweater. Problem solved.

blackdog said...

I think Anon's point is that he would like to be able to be outdoors after dark WITHOUT a sweater, sweatshirt or mackinaw.

Jack Elliott said...

But it is unreasonable to expect to go out in the evening in shirtsleeves in a place that loses heat quickly. Just as unreasonable as wanting to go hatless during a summer day in Death Valley or to wear shorts in Tierra del Fuego in August.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Actually I believe when Magellan first circumnavigated the globe ( he noted the native people there had acclimated to such a degree they went about perfectly NAKED! )

( Probably didn't have a Burlington Coat Factory at their outlet mall yet? ) Anyway, I 'am' referring to Central OR, and more recently than Lapu-lapu. As recently as the mid-90's towns like Prineville would -still- be in the 90's as late as ten o'clock at night!

There's nothing like walking out of a bar at 10pm and being in a rolling sweat before you find 'another' one that will serve you? Then again, if you haven't lived here that long.., you really don't have anything to compare 'to'?

Some day the PDO ( Pacific Decadal Osscilation ) will toggle over to the weather we enjoyed the 'first' twenty years I lived here! Till 'then'..?

Jack Elliott said...

"There's nothing like walking out of a bar at 10pm and being in a rolling sweat before you find 'another' one that will serve you?"

You're right -- there's nothing like it, and it's right disagreeable to me!


"Then again, if you haven't lived here that long.., you really don't have anything to compare 'to'?"

Now, now, no second-class-citizening me again just because I haven't lived here long enough to satisfy your rules of participation. Jack has lived in plenty of places that stay uncomfortably warm all night long, and has done so plenty long enough to appreciate what a treat a brisk head-clearing bicycle ride home really is after some serious pub-crawling.

blackdog said...

"As recently as the mid-90's towns like Prineville would -still- be in the 90's as late as ten o'clock at night!"

I was living here in the mid-1990s and I NEVER remember nights being that warm. Are you sure you're not confusing Prineville with Phoenix?

"There's nothing like walking out of a bar at 10pm and being in a rolling sweat before you find 'another' one that will serve you?"

Sounds horrible.

"appreciate what a treat a brisk head-clearing bicycle ride home really is after some serious pub-crawling."

Sounds worse. When I've done some serious pub-crawling what I want is a soft bed, not a brisk bicycle ride.

Anyway ... I'd rather have to put on a sweater to go outdoors at night than sleep in a pool of sweat, which is what you do pretty much every summer night on the East Coast (if your house isn't air-conditioned).

And then, of course, there are the mosquitoes ...

Anonymous said...

FYI, Your "Sun" count is incorrect. You forgot to add the days a couple of months ago. Just trying to keep it real.

BTW, we are moving to Bend in a week. Bring on the Suck!

Anonymous said...

Jack,

No need to think anyone is giving you the routine, but again, I think you're missing the point.

It's not just 'here' that ppl are discussing ( and not in altogether flattering terms ) the weather. Any time I run across someone that's at or near ret. age.., invariably the topic of "making other arrangements" during our endless winters comes up.

Just saying you've lived in places where it 'is' plenty warm during the eve's really isn't applicable to Oregon. It provides little consolation when you're on your 27th OR winter. It's all fine and well to say you'll just keep a sweater handy for cooler summer eve's, how will you feel when it's a parka?

All that aside, the whole thrust of Blackdog's blog is to provide a candid form where we can drop the "ideal weather cheerleading" ( not make further excuses for it? ) The weather 'is' what the weather is, but some of us have reached a point where it just isn't practical for our lifestyles/cycles any more. Certainly not when you're paying premium prices to do so.

Jack Elliott said...

Anon, I can't disagree with what you said. If the weather does not suit, then one has three choices: suck it up like a man, complain bitterly and often, or move.

blackdog said...

"FYI, Your "Sun" count is incorrect."

Thank you for pointing that out. Actually the "Days of Sun" and "Days of Suck" totals were both incorrect. They have been corrected.

Higher math, such as addition, is not Blackdog's strong suit.

blackdog said...

"BTW, we are moving to Bend in a week. Bring on the Suck!"

Oh, no worries, the suck will arrive on its own.

But I'm curious as to how much research into climate, economy, amenities, etc. you did before deciding to move to Bend. Or was the decision forced on you?

Anonymous said...

"Bring on the Suck!"

( Careful what you wish for? )

Jack,

I don't know how many times I can go OVER this!? How can I be more clear? What you are currently being exposed to is NOT what the weather was like when blackdog, myself and countless others moved here. Plain & Simple.

So if this is the Bill of Goods 'you' have been sold and find totally acceptable, then FINE! I'm happy you found the end of the rainbow. But it's not what 'we' signed up for lo' those many years ago.

As we transition to Fall, please feel free to post daily weather from virtually ANY town in the Lower 48 on or about our Parallel. I'm willing to bet that on virtually any given day, Duluth, MN Fargo, ND and whole lot of other "hell holes" will be enjoying nicer weather than WE are!

What I seem totally incapable of conveying to you is that, when I first moved out here in the late 70's, our Summers were no different than practically anyone else's. Even APRIL was tolerable. Please show me any other Climate in America that has changed and changed so dramatically?

No one will agree faster ( as blackdog suggests ) that ppl that move to PHX and then complain about "the heat" simply didn't do their homework, have no leg to stand on and deserve every round-trip moving expense heaped upon them and more! But how would you feel if you retired down there, had health issues and about 100 years of weather data at your back only to find a few years later local weather had changed markedly!? Especially after selling your old home, saying your good-byes and re-located for good? You're now 'invested' and as blackdog reminds us w/ regularity, saying "Well then why don't you just 'move'?" really is kind of moot. Maybe 20-somethings can throw a backpack over their shoulder and hitch a ride out of town but that won't work for most of us. So please, unless you're willing to discuss this on an adult level, please, can we take that off the table?

blackdog said...

Keep it mellow, please, it's too hot to fight.

Jack Elliott said...

Do we have evidence that the weather here is worsening? Other than memory, I mean, which is notoriously inaccurate.

"But how would you feel if you retired down there, had health issues and about 100 years of weather data at your back only to find a few years later local weather had changed markedly!? Especially after selling your old home, saying your good-byes and re-located for good?"

I'd be unhappy.

Look man, if you and blackdog prefer that I stay out of these gripefests, then all the two of you have to do is ask.

blackdog said...

"Do we have evidence that the weather here is worsening?"

I have asked the state climatologist's office at OSU for data; so far it has not responded. (Our tax dollars at work, eh?) But a number of longtime Bend residents share my impression that the winters have been getting longer. Of course that could be because we're old farts and the cold bothers us more than it used to.

"Look man, if you and blackdog prefer that I stay out of these gripefests, then all the two of you have to do is ask."

How did I become the villain in this melodrama? I welcome comments from anybody and everybody, as long as they're not personally abusive and/or libelous. I'm just asking both of you to stay cool, that's all. So let's chill, everybody.

Jack Elliott said...

"How did I become the villain in this melodrama?"

Because if Anon alone asked me to save my contributions to the weather discussions I'd ignore him. But if the owner of the blog, blackdog hisself, told me to put a sock in it, I'd abide by that.

Jack Elliott said...

For climate data, this might be helpful -- it goes back to 1971.

http://www.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=pdt

blackdog said...

Thanks, Jack, that site has some very interesting and useful numbers. I will be posting a more detailed report later, but preliminarily it looks as if for the past two years, at least, the spring in Bend has been noticeably cooler than the historical average.

Anonymous said...

"Jeez -- this thread is like two old men sitting on a porch griping about whether there are too many puppies in the town."

It's not outside the realm of possibility that "Anonymous" and "Blackdog" are the same person... ; ]

Anonymous said...

Well, let's be honest here, I stumbled on this blog as I was looking for the old Bend Housing Bubble Blog. My eldest daughter and her husband are looking for property in that general area and while often referenced ( as the "ground zero" for the HB ) I really hadn't looked into that mkt. specifically in some time?



What really attracted me to OR originally is that it had such a neutral climate. Not really extreme in any regard. It was literally a blank canvas, you could make it what you wanted it to be? As I'm going to design my ret. home I've considered just about every passive heating/cooling technique imaginable!

Trombe walls, strawbale const. solar, pelton wheel, you name it. In order to free yourself from our soon-to-be "challenged" infrastructure, you'll want to start now. I'm not kidding when I say it won't be long before PGE offers "Premium Service" ( at a premium price ) just so you won't have to live w/ rolling brown outs.

OR provided the perfect backdrop to make all of this happen. At least it 'did'. Not that I refuse to be swayed by "hard data" but truthfully Jack, blackdog & I are about (2) of the most open and objective resources you're going to come across. We're not natives ( so we don't shrug our shoulders and blow off the changes ) but we've certainly lived here long enough to have noticed them?

What's concerned me is that ( and we all have friends that live out on the coast ) is that for years I've had to listen to OR's that were in no way reluctant to tell "I just can't stand the HEAT any more!" What they're really telling you is that their metabolism and acclimitization has reached such a point, they really CAN'T handle it any more!

This isn't a place you want to be. Not when you're as young as early 60's, 50's and I've heard the comment from some in their 30's. Pretty soon a whole plethora of outdoor activities become off limits. It just snowballs from there. Over weight, lethargy etc.

blackdog said...

"It's not outside the realm of possibility that "Anonymous" and "Blackdog" are the same person... "

They are not.

blackdog said...

The temperature in Bend as I write this is over 100.

The predicted high tomorrow is 78. By Saturday, the HIGH is predicted to be 65, with a low of 40 (!!!???!!!).

Bend's climate not only sucks -- it is INSANE. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prepare for or adapt to the weather here.

Anonymous said...

"the HIGH is predicted 65, with a low of 40"

I rest my case.

D ( Anon )

Jack Elliott said...

"Bend's climate not only sucks -- it is INSANE. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prepare for or adapt to the weather here."

B-but you just said what tomorrow's through Saturday's temps would be. How much more of a heads-up do you need for preparation?

As for adapting, well, that's why clothes were invented. Ranging from mountaineering anoraks to full-frontal male nudity. It felt so nice out this morning, that I decide to leave it out all day!

Jack Elliott said...

"...but truthfully Jack, blackdog & I are about (2) of the most open and objective resources you're going to come across.

Hmph. Blackdog is a testy you-kids-keep-off-my-lawn cynic who doesn't like puppies or kittens. And you seem grumpier. That is, if you the same "Anonymous" (if that is your real name) as the other "Anonymous" who participated in this thread.

I thought today was swell. It reached close to 100, sure, "but it's a dry heat," as they say. After two summer pale ales at the Deschutes Brewery brewpub followed by a stop by the shaded Drake Park Farmer's Market to pick up a goat cheese, a baguette, a couple stone-fruit, and other misc produce; my bike ride home was quite pleasant.

In a day or so, temperatures will moderate and all a fellow will need is a light sweater. At least all a chubby 60 year-old fellow such as myself.

blackdog said...

B-b-b-but I LOVE kittens and puppy dogs! Sniff. Sniff.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

I think the real rift here is that you have the good fortune to have -already- retired. People really mellow out once they're out of the rat race and I've even seen former Drill Instructors go "quality of life" once retired.

Where I see our weather as an issue of focus is that, I 'too' am picturing my "Self-Actualization Phase" of life ( and 'I' for one, have no intentions of spending it battling an ever-enchroaching winter as part of that phase! )

Doubt I'll be in a league w/ Thomas Jefferson at Monticello ( but I'd like to 'try'? ) More than just pursue the "simple pleasures" I'd like to take on some real projects. Real challenges. Like getting totally independent not only from the Grid but Utilities altogether. I happen to see them as nothing more than a constant burden to those on fixed income going forward.

Given it's fairly ambitious to 'begin' with.., the last thing I need is an abbreviated summer. You've made your choice and for that, I'm happy for you. But now there's a new "re-set" in the works and some of the old rules no longer apply. Blackdog is favoring Ashland and I'm looking a little further south, Yreka for example.

We already have a beach house in the Philippines and we built it for a song. Remember, at the time ( early 80's ) Philippine Army H-1 choppers flew over the property every DAY to suppress a Muslim uprising. Not exactly a secure environment? Of course now a similar residence would be -over- $100k ( if you could FIND one! ) But we can't live there year round, we have kids here in OR and as I've said, that is what makes the whole "Why don't you just MOVE!?" position all the more ridiculous. When you have kids/grandkids, I wouldn't need a moving van, I'd need a Time Machine! Thought you'd understand.

blackdog said...

Three forest fires currently burning northwest of Bend and the air got very smoky yesterday afternoon and evening. When the full moon rose it was so orange it looked like a pumpkin.

Jack Elliott said...

I think you misunderstand my position. I'm not retired. Mrs Elliott and I both have small businesses that we run out of our house here.

Except for a few childhood years in Napa and a few dissolute years in the Bay Area, my days were lived in SoCal. When my younger child, a daughter, hit 18, I realized that if I wanted to move out that stucco wasteland I had to seize the moment.

We checked out several places, liked it here, moved here. I coaxed my 21 year-old son to move with us, getting him out of the cultural dead end that he was living in in Vista, away from a circle of unemployed boys his age who were effectively living in their moms' garages, doing little more than smoking weed and sponging off their parents.

He now has a full-time job at a local locksmithery.

My daughter remained behind out of choice so she could continue to go to school.

Mrs Elliott's two sons and five grandchildren live near Sacramento and she visits them on a regular basis.

We moved here two years ago when I was 58. Selling a house in SoCal as the prices were sliding, but made a modest profit. The house here was undervalued for the location so we've not done too terribly badly in that regard.

So for me, while it took a lot of work, I was nevertheless able to haul my big fat white ass out of a place I despised, coax Mrs Elliott and a son to accompany me, make sure my daughter was well-situated to continue life as a semi-adult where she chose to remain, and move both our businesses, which entailed hiring totally new people.

My point is that while it was not easy, I managed to make it happen. That's not to imply anything about the shoes you are wearing. I'm just saying that it's not only 20 year-olds with backpacks who can shift locations.

Saying "So move," does sound glib. But BTDT (been there, done that) so here I am to say that it worked for me.

Jack Elliott said...

B-b-b-but I LOVE kittens and puppy dogs!

Cold weather wants your love, too!

blackdog said...

"Cold weather wants your love, too!"

Fuck it.

Jack Elliott said...

See? Like I said. Grumpy.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Fair enough and thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm a real fan of "case studies" and that helps flesh things out in a very meaningful and concrete way.

In your case ( and I can't imagine selling in '08 was what you could describe as a "cake walk"? ) the bottom line was that you were part of a conduit coming from a higher priced area ( admittedly selling '06! would have been ideal ) but nonetheless 'buying' into a more affordable mkt.

( Which uh... is the 'idea' toward a sustainable retirement, isn't it? ) Not lots of folks from IA ret. in NYC? Again, at age 58.., it's a delicate balancing act. So it took considerable b@lls ( not eligible to draw on IRA until 59 1/2 ) The truth is, even though I 'do' have a formal office ( I ran my bus. out of the home for years as well so I know the drill )

My circumstances ( largely age-driven ) were similar in ways. It's just that after barely surviving the Dot.Com Boom ( I felt I need 'another' one like I needed a hole in the head? ) So we SOLD our home in 2004! Who was it that said "I made all my money selling 'early' "? Sir John Templeton?

Anyway, that tided us over for several re-building years when ( predictably ) things fell apart all over again. So suffice to say, my views on ret. have changed significantly. In fact, I think the whole country is re-thinking that? For those of us still in our early 50's and younger, we simply won't have the wind at our backs in terms of selling our primary residence. It just ain't there. I plan on working as long as I can, but it would be nice to know you could pull the plug at any time. IMHO.

Now that we have an essentially "clean slate" I don't think it's unreasonable to want to take a step 'back' ( and re-evaluate the Weather scenario either? )

Jack Elliott said...

Sure, I don't mind wiping the slate.

I forgot to mention that in the late '90s I went through personal as well as business bankruptcy, and a divorce. Add that kind of personal trauma to a total knee replacement, an ankle fusion, and this sore spot on my lip that won't go away . . . right here (tugs down lower lip and points) . . . -- and the local weather's hijinks are Tinkertoys in comparison.

To me, of course. I don't want to sound like I'm making light of your and blackdog's issues with the local climate.

But what can I say? I'm getting bored with summer now, ready for a change.

blackdog said...

BORED with SUMMER??? Shit, dude, it only started less than two months ago!

I'm beginning to think you should have moved to Fairbanks or Nome instead of Bend.

Anonymous said...

"But I'm curious as to how much research into climate, economy, amenities, etc. you did before deciding to move to Bend. Or was the decision forced on you?"

Nope, I landed a 6 figure job in Bend; excited as Tiger Woods in a strip joint to move there, too. In fact, not only am I moving but so is my ex-wife, girl friend, and my three kids (population increase of 6). I have done my research over the last two years on the climate, economy, amenities, local political climate, and everything else under the Sun. (no pun intended). And, the best research I performed was visting Bend in the Winter and Summer and talking with the locals. I would say 90% of my conversations were positive about Bend and its future.

Your blog focuses mainly on the climate. We all have our own perspective on what climate is right for us. And for me and my family, the climate in Bend is pretty bombtackular. I grew up in the Phoenix and Omaha; weather was not the best. I now have lived the past 6 years in Seattle where you are lucky to get 70 days of sun (its about 60 and raining as I write this). So, I (we) welcome the climate and all of the other purported suck in Bend!

Jack Elliott said...

Anonymous From Seattle writes to say, "... but so is my ex-wife, girl friend..."

Dude.

And, "We all have our own perspective on what climate is right for us."

On. The. Nose.

People are astonished to learn that I wanted to move away from coastal SoCal where it's supposedly fantastic weather year-round. Well, to many I'm sure that's true. To me, it was dull, dull, dull. As I've said before, the easy-listening version of weather.
We all have our own perspective on what climate is right for us.
Do you like easy-listening music? Then coastal SoCal's the place to be. Like my women, I like my music varied, interesting and surprising.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous From Seattle writes to say, "... but so is my ex-wife, girl friend..."

Dude."

Haha. Two homes. Amicable divorce. Kids are the priority. The way it should be.

Anonymous said...

"in Seattle you are lucky to get 70 days of sun"

Oh I hear you! I recall it was 1997 and Seattle basically didn't HAVE a summer! It rained thru mid-August, a three week reprieve and back to the dunk tank shortly after Labor Day. Which is nigh upon us and another bar we'll need to clear.

If you managed to land a 6 fig. job in BEND ( consider yourself most fortunate ) Not sure what locals you've been in touch with but Nationally, Bend is considered the epicenter of The Bust? What's the Unemployment # out there blackdog? The folks 'I' have spoke w/ out there don't seem to have the same level of optimism for Bend's immediate econ. future?

blackdog said...

"I landed a 6 figure job in Bend"

Congratulations. There aren't many of those here -- especially now.

"not only am I moving but so is my ex-wife, girl friend"

That should be interesting.

"I would say 90% of my conversations were positive about Bend and its future."

I wonder who you talked to. The professional boosters (Chamber of Commerce types, realtors etc.) are still saying everything's rosy, but unemployment in Deschutes County is almost 15% and the consensus of the people I talk to is that it will take many years for Bend to regain prosperity, if it ever does. We're the very prototype of a bubble-and-bust community.

blackdog said...

"People are astonished to learn that I wanted to move away from coastal SoCal where it's supposedly fantastic weather year-round. Well, to many I'm sure that's true. To me, it was dull, dull, dull."

The thing is, you lived your whole life in California and got bored with good weather. I've lived more than 25 years in Bend, and I'm bored with freezing my ass off nine months out of the year.

Jack Elliott said...

"[Bend is]... the very prototype of a bubble-and-bust community."

We're Number One! We're Number One!

Kids are the priority. The way it should be.

Right on. But I'll still think of you as having strong stud-fu.

Anonymous said...

"The professional boosters"

And that really is all blackdog intended to provide 'something' of a counter-balance to? Hey, I got the same schpiel when I started in my Guard unit down in K' Falls. "Area boasts 300 days a year of sunshine!"

AFAICT, since we've toggled over, it really doesn't seem to matter where in C/S OR you check the weather.., if it's gloomy in Salem, Eugene, Portland.., it's gloomy in Christmas Valley! Let me assure that didn't used to be the case.

Blackdog, with all -due- respect, I would take a long hard look at Ashland before taking the plunge. I know you 'will' so it's only me acknowledging the risks. In fact I was talking yesterday w/ a guy from Fallon who's lived there for the last 15 years and even 'he' has noticed a difference over the last (2) years.

Wouldn't any reasonable person been able to conclude that a MOUNTAIN range would've sufficed to distance one's self from the drear?

Jack Elliott said...

I SAID It felt so nice out this morning, that I decide to leave it out all day!
.
.
.
.
.
Hello?

...Jeez this is a tough crowd. Is this an audience or an oil painting?

Check, check -- is this thing on?

Anonymous said...

What's weighed on me ( literally ) is that.., when you think about it, in most climates ( normal Spring ) everyone is "getting ready for summer" during the early mos. of the year.

It's a time when gals go walking to shed pounds ( so they'll look great in that new bikini they picked up! ) and for the most part, ppl back east, down south, etc. aren't exhausting their summers just trying to get BACK to Square 1. The gyms aren't 'packed' and they're out living it up at the beach showing off those great abs/figures etc!

Well, what happens when it takes ( what little summer we 'do' have ) just to get yourself looking presentable again? Say what you may but that's def. where I feel I've been for a few decades now?

Jack Elliott said...

Gotta get us some bigger mountains.

blackdog said...

"Blackdog, with all -due- respect, I would take a long hard look at Ashland before taking the plunge."

I've been tracking the weather patterns closely since we started thinking about moving to Ashland. It's been unusually cold and gray all over the West Coast this year, but the Ashland area is still typically 8 to 10 degrees warmer than Bend on any given day. For example, it is currently 55 degrees in Bend (at noon on Aug. 28 -- can you fuckin' BELIEVE it???) and 63 in Ashland. Still not balmy, I'll grant you, but better than 55.

The historical data also show that Ashland is considerably sunnier than Bend. You could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say.